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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2018

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Queen Of Time
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Random album

The Stompcrash - Swear By The Moon (2017) - Review

Band: The Stompcrash
Album title: Swear By The Moon
Release date: 20 January 2017
Label: Trisol Music Group

01. My Tied Bride
02. Plague Doctor
03. Twisted Souls
04. Consciousness
05. Dance Like Marionettes
06. Love Is The Deepest Sea
07. The Wedding Knell
08. High Seas
09. Take me Away
10. Mirrors

Almost three years after their seminal album, Love From Hell, the Italian quartet returns with their fourth full-lenght album titled Swear By The Moon. The band centered around vocalist Chris exists since 2002 and by their unique take on darkwave/goth music they gained quite a reputation in the dark music scene around the world. I was eagerly waiting for Swear By The Moon, mostly because I liked a lot the previous album, so obviously I expected something monumental. The fact is also that darkwave/gothic rock scene is rather impoverished lately, there are not really many stunning albums released that could hit you straight in the heart. And..., guess what, neither Swear By The Moon is one of them. It's not a bad album at all, but I simply expected a bit more, something extraordinary.

The two guys and two girls who form the line-up of The Stompcrash offer on their new full-lenght ten tracks of sombre romantic darkwave music with many generic gothic rock passages. The problem is that everything is just a bit too mellow and too much predictable, but still they managed to make some hits, like it's the very catchy single "Twisted Souls", with an addictive rhythm and refrain that will get stuck in your head probably for a long time; I think this is one of the best tracks this band ever did. I like those romantic, deep and velvety dark vocals, backened by strong reverberate bass lines, simple but appealing drumming and straight generic goth rock guitars with kind of a pop sensibility. Similar in mood is also the infectious last track called "Mirrors", another gem that will be on my goth rock playlist for a long time. As well the captivating "Dance Like Marionettes" and a bit more upbeat and dynamic "Love Is The Deepest Sea" are the songs that simply satisfy my daily dose for gothic rock. 

What I like better than ever before in The Stompcrash music is a special ambiance created by synths. Sometimes gloomy as hell, other times a bit symphonic, with kind of a connotation to the classical music, but always deepening the whole thing. They know how to keep the things flowing, unfortunately too often with safe compositions and simple rhythms, sometimes even too safe and simple. If you listen carefully you'll find in certain parts elements that could remind to the most gentle things that Moonspell or Timat ever did, for example in the beginning of "Plague Doctor". But there are those mediocre songs like is "The Wedding Knell", "Consciousness" or too generic "High Seas", that work out, if I allow myself to be a bit harsh, like some good for nothing fillers. Nevertheless I must say that I love how nicely they blend together gothic rock and darkwave elements, thus converge everything into something mystical, and with somehow melancholic pop melodies they are creating quite rich and mostly catchy, very accessible sound. 

In their mysterious lyrics the band takes inspirations from great poets/writers such as H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe or Franz Kafka. The mystical vision that surrounds this album is deepened also by interesting occultistic dark artwork. All in all, The Stompcrash have their own identity and on Swear By The Moon they show it maybe more than ever, even though I missed some sparks. Production is good, so it's the final mix and like I said before this is not a bad album at all, I'm sure that romantic souls who like gothic rock will love it, but it might be a bit too "daily" for more demanding listeners.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7/10

Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Hidden By Ivy
Album title: Acedia
Release date: 4 September 2015
Label: Alchera Visions

The musical output of Hidden By Ivy is hard to put in brackets, but what those two artists do is certainly giving some shivers down the spine with their incredible sense to compose refined and highly emotive music. There are found many different elements, from post-rock basis, to incredible subtle layers of dark wave, art pop, gothic elements, shoegaze, even cold wave, ambient, some jazz, a bit of folk and yet much more, everything put together into such an exquisite melancholic flow of refreshing meditative sounds. Acedia is a blistering attack for your senses. It has so much emotion, meditative soundscapes, melancholic catchy melodies and heartrending vocal arrangements that is hard not to be overwhelmed by it. Those constant variations in sound and intriguing art pop/rock compositional elements used all over are certainly making this album one of a kind. There's that vintage influence present, but the album sounds still very modern and fresh, also because of a genious production and final mix. Every single song, like as well the album as a whole has that hard to obtain pathos which captivates the listener from the start till the end and makes the one wanting to return for more.

Read a full review HERE